US President-elect Donald Trump has spoken frequently of his interest to work with Russia to fight IS, and he suggested he is inclined to cut US support for Syrian rebel groups that oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the... Obama administration, while avoiding direct escalation against the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian backers, has steadfastly refused... cooperation with the Assad regime and has said it believes he lost the legitimacy to govern Syria.

Yemen’s 18-month civil war has killed about 10,000 people, and now it is pushing the country to the brink of famine. More than 21 million Yemenis — 80% of the population — are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Much of Yemen’s poverty is due to dire water shortages. Yemen’s conflict has been characterized as a proxy war between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s domestic conflict over the inability to produce consensus... has now escalated into an intractable multi-party war.

The lightning bolt that the “no” campaign rallied around was punishment — or lack thereof — for the FARC ... But what irked many even more was the fact that FARC members would be allowed to contest democratic office, even if they were serving restricted liberty sentences. The deal also guaranteed some seats in the Colombian Congress during the peace deal’s implementation, a bizarre change of rules for a country that disqualifies all other candidates with even the most minor criminal convictions.

Turnout was low with fewer than 38% of voters casting their votes ... Colombia was divided regionally with most of the outlying provinces voting in favour of the agreement and those nearer the capital and inland voting against it ... Under the agreement, special courts would have been created to try crimes committed during the conflict.Those who confessed to their crimes would have been given more lenient sentences and would have avoided serving any time in conventional prisons.

The history of African-Americans is often distilled into two epochs: the 246 years of enslavement ending after the close of the Civil War, and the dramatic era of protest during the civil rights movement. Yet the Civil War-to-civil rights axis tempts us to leap past a century of resistance against subjugation, and to miss the human story of ordinary people, their hopes lifted by Emancipation, dashed at the end of Reconstruction, crushed further by Jim Crow...

Most civil wars end when one side loses. Either it is defeated militarily, or it exhausts its weapons or loses popular support and has to give up. About a quarter of civil wars end in a peace deal, often because both sides are exhausted. That might have happened in Syria: The core combatants — the government and the insurgents who began fighting it in 2011 — are quite weak and, on their own, cannot sustain the fight for long. But they are not on their own. Each side is backed by foreign powers

the six [nations] most profoundly affected [by the Arab Spring] — Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen — are all republics, rather than monarchies. And of these six, the three that have disintegrated so completely as to raise doubt that they will ever again exist as functioning states — Iraq, Syria and Libya — are all...countries created by Western imperial powers in the early 20th century ... little thought was given to national coherence, and even less to tribal or sectarian divisions.

But for a number of fledgling countries and colonies across the world, America’s loss was their great gain ... It took just a couple of weeks after the outbreak of hostilities in South Carolina for farmers the world over to realize the scope of the bounty that had landed in their lap. Agricultural laborers from Australia and India to the West Indies ditched...other food staples and hastily planted up their fields with cotton ... No one, however, seized on the opportunity quite like the Egyptians

This is an entirely man-made catastrophe. Venezuela, by all rights, should be rich ... it has more oil than the United States or Saudi Arabia or anyone else for that matter ... But despite that, economic mismanagement on a world-historical scale has barely left...the government is all but bankrupt ... the state itself is near collapse. Venezuela already has the world's second-highest murder rate ... It's a grim race between anarchy and civil war.

Counting Syria’s dead has become nearly impossible...but groups monitoring the conflict have estimated the number to be almost half a million, with the pace of killing accelerating each year. The war has emptied out the country, with some five million Syrians escaping to neighboring countries and to Europe, straining the capacities of even those countries which are willing to provide asylum and humanitarian aid. The chaos has also played a fundamental role in the rise of ISIS